Technology is a complex field that continues to change and grow in all directions. It has affected almost every aspect of human activity, including transportation, communications, and medicine. The word technology actually derives from the combining of two Greek words, meaning “to work” and “to use.” Technology is the total sum of any methods, skills, processes, and systems used in the achievement of specific goals, including scientific discovery, technological innovation, and the application of technologies in business, government, and society.
Technology has influenced nearly every aspect of our lives. In recent years, computer technology has been one of the most important developments in modern society. Learning about, using, and maintaining computers has opened entirely new worlds of knowledge and communication. This knowledge is used for practical purposes, for example, for research, business, medicine, science, and education. Knowledge about how computers work, how to use them, and what they can do have also opened up entirely new opportunities for higher education.
Computers and their parts have become an almost indispensable part of our lives. Nearly every home now has a computer and the vast majority of businesses operate through computerized systems. Computer hardware and software are routinely updated to make machines better at performing new tasks, improve the quality of performance, increase efficiency, and reduce cost. Computer applications and technologies are continuously improving, too, allowing people to do more with the same amount of knowledge, information, and power.
Knowledge also determines the scope and depth of human knowledge. Scientific advances made in recent years have improved the scope and depth of our understanding of the universe and the workings of living organisms. Advances in scientific and technological literature have brought about a wealth of knowledge about the world, the human body, and the planet. In addition, new technological technologies continue to develop, producing ever-more sophisticated means for people to learn, understand, and use these new systems for practical purposes. Technological change has also broadened the range of knowledge available to individuals.
Technological systems have also contributed to the process of scientific and technical learning. Rather than teaching students how to use computers, for instance, teachers and schools have begun to teach students how to harness the technology that is already available to them. In this way, blended learning systems integrate computers and knowledge with natural, cultural, and social information. Instead of teaching students to find the answers by reading books and newspapers, for instance, they are taught to search the web or to obtain independent scientific information that they can then analyze using the tools readily available to them.
The scientific method is used to explore material used in science and engineering, such as the physical sciences, including physics, chemistry, astronomy, and biology. The scientific method places emphasis on the process of observation and experimentation, rather than the end results. For example, to learn the structure of a molecule, one must first collect and examine molecules. A popular version of the scientific method is known as the Galileo Method, named after the famous 16th century Galileo Galilei.
In the industrial objective setting, the focus is on how the various technologies will be used to solve problems and create new products and services. These technologies are viewed as having three objectives: economic, social, and environmental. This way of thinking about technology helps to provide an integrated framework around which the different technologies and associated activities can be analyzed and used to solve business and organizational problems. In this way, the different technologies that make up an organization can be viewed as providing opportunities for the organization to create goods and services, solve problems, and improve productivity, all of which are important to its members.
Combining knowledge from disciplines such as technology studies, science, engineering, and economics with knowledge from the field of psychology, business, decision making, education, and other human factors, learners are able to gain practical application knowledge from a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective. With the ability to incorporate multiple perspectives, this knowledge becomes more valuable in a variety of settings. By learning in an integrative process that includes technology studies, science, and engineering, learners are able to learn new technologies, gain new skills, develop new interests, and participate in a more positive overall environment.